Are Chinchillas Easy to Train? [The Truth & Tips]

Adopting a chinchilla presents many benefits that you can enjoy for years to come.

Chinchillas also present a few unique challenges, setbacks, and questions that a new chinchilla owner may encounter through their adoption.

A question that easily falls into the top and most common questions I hear is simple but needs some explanation.

Are chinchillas easy to train?

Well, I’ve owned a chinchilla now for two years, been through the wringer with attempting just about everything you can imagine, and here’s what I can tell you on this topic.

So, are chinchillas easy to train? Chinchillas are easy to train for a limited amount of actions. Chinchillas can be easily trained to recognize their names and their owners. Chinchillas can also be easily trained to urinate in a litter pan and respond to stimuli such as treats to return to their cage or their owners.

Outside of these basic commands, chinchillas are not necessarily an easy pet to train.

Let’s be 100% clear. They don’t need to learn much more than this to be an amazing, loving, and affectionate pet.

Chinchillas are extremely intelligent animals and a joy to own in general.

Don’t fret about other commands.

In fact, I’m going to lay it all out for you here today in this post.

I’ve created a short video a few paragraphs below discussing this topic, and I’ve also placed easy to navigate links directly below that detail what I will cover in today’s brief 4-minute post.

Feel free to use them to skip around if you choose.

are-chinchillas-easy-to-train

Here’s what’s on the lesson plan for today:

As stated previously, if you need to use the links above to skip around in this post, feel free to do so.

It won’t hurt my feelings in the slightest.

The most important advice I can give you is if you decide to watch the video a few paragraphs down, be sure to come back and finish reading the post.

My videos don’t typically contain nearly the in-depth information that my blog posts contain.

Perhaps, it’s due to me being a better blogger than an on-screen person?

Nonetheless, here are the details you need to know to provide the best care possible for your chinchilla and understand how easily they can be trained to do specific commands.

How Easy Is It to Train A Chinchilla?

Alright, so let’s get down to business. How easily can you train a chinchilla, and what will be entailed?

Let’s start by recapping what has already been stated previously.

Chinchillas are not going to have the same capability of being trained in the same fashion as an animal such as a dog.

Simply meaning, we aren’t going to be training our chinchillas to do tricks such as the following:

  • Sit
  • Shake
  • Laydown
  • Fetch A Drink from The Fridge

I’m also not saying it can’t be done to teach a chinchilla some of these tricks.

I’m a firm believer that any animal with an IQ or as smart as a chinchilla could likely learn some neat tricks with enough dedication.

I’ve just yet to see this happen or take place. Clearly, if you know it’s possible and have done it, make sure to comment below because I think that would be pretty darn cool.

On the flip side, chinchillas can learn a few other behaviors and commands relatively quickly.

For example, it’s entirely possible that once your chinchilla trusts you and recognizes you that you can get your chinchilla to do tricks or learn commands such as:

  • Come Back to Me
  • Litter Training to Urinate
  • Responding to their name

These are the 3 basic commands that can easily be accomplished.

The hardest of those 3 would undoubtedly be litter training. It took me about 4-5 months to get this to a high success rate.

You can read more about this by visiting my post about how to potty train a chinchilla here.

You also check out the best chinchilla litter to use here.

Typically, when it comes to teaching your chinchilla to respond to their name or to return to you after playtime is complete, it takes nothing more than patience and diligence.

Enough times speaking to your chinchilla and finding smart ways to get them to come back to you so you can return them to the cage eventually happens, and they catch on and adapt relatively quickly.

I still sometimes need a small incentive to get my chinchilla to return to their cage, such as tapping on their dust bath or even offering up a little treat from time to time.

Be careful, offering too many treats too often. Not only can cause stomach issues, but it’s also not a behavior you want them to register as a requirement to do anything you request.

You can read my post about the safe fruits you can offer your chinchilla here.

Can Chinchillas Learn Tricks?

No, chinchillas can’t learn tricks. Most chinchillas will be limited by the tricks and commands that they will respond too. Teaching chinchilla’s tricks that we are accustomed to attempting with other pets will not work with a chinchilla.

Again, this does not mean that I’m saying it’s impossible.

I’m just saying that most chinchillas are not doing tricks on command for their owners, and if we have anyone reading that disagrees, I will venture to say that the number is very seldom.

A Short Video on Training Chinchillas to Perform on Command

Here’s a quick video I’ve put together discussing this topic in more depth.

However, as stated previously, be sure to return and finish reading the remainder of this post.

Typically, I don’t put as detailed information in my videos compared to my post and don’t want you to miss out on any of the inside details on this topic.

You can see that video directly below.

Alright, now that we have the video out of the way, let’s move on discuss some other frequently asked questions that chinchilla owners typically ask on the topic of training a chinchilla.

Training A Chinchilla to Do Tricks

Again, I wouldn’t use the word tricks freely when it comes to training a chinchilla.

A better way to phrase this question would be training a chinchilla to respond to commands and respond to their owners.

To do this and to get your chinchilla on the path to learning some of the commands we mentioned previously, it’s relatively easy, but it does take some patience as your bond grows with your chin.

Treats are the most common way to get this process kickstarted.

Again, be limited with treats and don’t offer to much or any dangerous fruits for your chinchillas’ diet.

Start by executing with a close interaction with your chinchilla. If you read any post on this site, you will know that I’m a massive advocate of purchasing a pop-up animal play tent to interact with your chinchilla inside of.

It helped me dramatically by reducing the space that was used to interact with your chinchilla and allows you to really focus on handling, petting, and saying your chinchilla’s name.

As they begin responding, offer a small treat so that they start associating coming to you and allowing you to handle them with something positive and desirable.

You can see and check out the exact pop-up tent I use with my chinchilla here (Link to Amazon)

It’s seriously one of the most significant recommendations and purchases I urge you to make to get your process off on the right track and to speed up the process dramatically with bonding and handling.

Training a Chinchilla to Be Responsive to Handling and Holding

While remaining on the same topic, I wanted to continue a bit further and discuss how to get your chinchilla acclimated to being handled and held.

A lot of chinchilla owners struggle with this in the beginning.

Once again, that pop-up animal tent discussed above is going to save your life in this manner and make it much easier to get this process completed quickly.

Additionally, instead of rambling too much on this topic, I highly recommend you check out my post about how to get your chinchilla to enjoy being held here.

That link directly above also has a detailed video that will break down the process much further for you, so it’s 100% worth your time to check out.

Let’s cover a few last commonly asked questions and have you on your way.

Can Chinchillas Learn Their Name?

Yes, chinchillas learn their names. Chinchillas learn and respond to their names before learning any other commands. To teach your chinchilla to learn their name, interact with them closely, speak to them often, and use their name often. When they respond to their name being spoken, reward them with a small treat or soft petting.

This is probably the first trick/command your chinchilla will ever learn and recognize, and it doesn’t take long at all.

It also seems to stick with them quite well.

I’d say that my chinchilla recognized her name being spoken within a few weeks, and to this day, she still will come out of her nest box or wake up from a night of sleep on her hammock by entering the room and saying her name.

In case you weren’t aware, chinchillas absolutely need a nest box to feel safe.

You can read my post about the best nest box for chinchillas here.

You can also learn more about chinchilla hammocks and the best options here.

Can You Toilet Train/Potty Train A Chinchilla?

Yes, instead of elaborating too much on this topic, it’s much easier for you to simply check out my full blog post and video on the topic by going back a few paragraphs and using the link discussing the potty training process with your chinchilla.

Bite Training and Eliminating Biting in General

Here is the deal with chinchillas and biting.

In general, chinchillas are not known to be biters. However, in some situations, they may bite, and in some circumstances, you have a few things you can do to curb the behavior.

One tip my breeder gave me on the adoption day is to never pull back quickly from a chinchilla bite.

Don’t let your chinchilla know that biting you achieved a desirable behavior from you, such as not petting or handling.

I’ve only had my chinchilla slightly nibble in more of a playful way or in a fashion that indicated that she simply wanted to get my attention.

However, when trying to hold your chinchilla, let’s assume they didn’t prefer nor like the way you were picking them up and decided to bite.

If this happens, this is when to implement that tip I just provided you.

I know my friends.

A chinchilla can bite can hurt, but don’t let them know this.

You absolutely don’t want them thinking that anytime you do anything that they slightly disagree with that they can just bite down on you to get you to stop that behavior.

Remember, you are in control.

Also, by no means freak out by this area of the post. Chinchillas do not do this often, and if they do, it’s likely a technique you can slightly modify with handling your chin that will eliminate the behavior entirely.

If you seem to be struggling with this or it’s happening to often, be sure to spend more time and revert to building a stronger bond and trust with your chinchilla to begin eliminating the behavior.

It could be that you’re simply forcing the issue a bit too quickly in the beginning.

Remember, it takes a few weeks for your chinchilla to sufficiently warm up to you and their environment.

Sometimes even longer.

Dust Bath Calls and Locating a Lost Chinchilla

This topic right here is much more prevalent with chinchilla owners than maybe anything else discussed in this post thus far.

Trust me, if you allow your chinchilla a large enough play area, eventually, they will find a way to hide from you once or twice.

The best way to make sure you can always locate your chinchilla or train them to respond to your efforts is to use a dust bath to your advantage.

I use a plastic dust house for my chinchilla.

In the beginning, during dust bath time, I’d simply tap on the dust bath, and when she would come to me, I’d reward her with a small treat.

This was to make sure she associated that tapping noise with something positive and would respond to this tapping in the future.

Make sure to do this early with your chinchilla just to get that training and trick out of the way.

Now, in the future, if your chinchilla decides to hide under some furniture or behind something where it’s difficult to find them, simply pull out the dust bath, give it a tap and eventually they will come out looking for that treat they have been programmed to recognize from your earlier efforts.

It’s as easy as that and 95% of the time, your chinchilla will respond to this training, and it works great.

Final Thoughts

So, let’s recap briefly.

Can chinchilla be trained, and are chinchillas easy to train?

Technically, yes, chinchillas are easy to train, but it’s a limited amount of commands and tricks that you can teach a chinchilla.

Nonetheless, with a little effort, you can have a relatively obedient chinchilla and a new fantastic family pet to own.

I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming chinchilla adoption or current adoption.

Share Your Advice on Training a Chinchilla

What other tricks have you been able to train your chinchilla that we haven’t mentioned yet in this post?

What other recommendations can you give the readers to make this process that much easier?

Be sure to share those tips, tricks, advice, and thoughts by dropping a comment below.

As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading.

Thanks again, and we will see you next time.

Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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